Foward Ville Peltonen will return to the lineup after missing the last two games with a bruised knee after being hit knee-to-knee by Tampa forward Evgeny Artyukhin. Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images
By Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com
Keep it simple and limit the mistakes.
According to Panther coach Peter DeBoer, those will be the keys tonight at BankAtlantic Center when the Panthers play host to the Philadelphia Flyers at 7:30 p.m.
Coming out of the four-day, All-Star break, the Panthers (21-17-8) will be taking on a Flyers team that ranks among the top in the Eastern Conference in offense.
The Panthers, a single point behind Carolina in the playoff race with two games in hand, will attempt to avenge a 3-2 shootout loss here Jan. 16 when coming out of a similar break.
“Your concerns are you haven’t skated for four days,” said DeBoer after the Panthers’ morning skate. “I don’t think it’s a habit of NHL players to bring their skates on the All-Star break, unless they’re playing in it.”
So for the Panthers, the plan will be simple.
“These types of games, and we’ve talked about it as a group, usually the team that makes the less mistakes and the team that keeps it simple and sticks to its system and gets some saves wins.”
After coming out of the Christmas break 0-3-1, DeBoer was much happier with the way the Panthers played off their six day break in January. Despite going 1-1-2, the Panthers played well in shootout losses to the Sabres and Flyers.
Ville Peltonen, who missed the last two games with a bruised knee, will be back in the lineup and alongside linemates Gregory Campbell and Radek Dvorak.
“Those guys have really been the difference for us over the last couple months,” said DeBoer of Peltonen, Dvorak and Campbell. “I think they’re the identity of our team, that lines and Ville in particular. He’s a hard working, honest player who gives us some energy and has given us some timely goals.”
With Peltonen back in the lineup, Nick Tarnasky will be a scratch. On defense, Nick Boynton is back in the lineup and Noah Welch will be the scratch.
The Flyers (25-12-9) have a high-powered offense that includes Jeff Carter (30 goals), Simon Gagne (45 points, 19 goals), Mike Richards (16 goals, 30 assists) and defenseman Kimmo Timonen (25 assists).
Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester was back on the ice Tuesday morning after participating in the weekend’s NHL All-Star Game in Montreal.
Bouwmeester, who had a goal and two assists, said it was a fun trip. His favorite part?
“Probably the stuff off the ice,” he said. “Some of the older players were there, guys before my time, but you know how good they were back in the day. Jean Beliveau and Guy Lafleur. Gordie Howe was hanging around. Pretty legendary players.”
Bouwmeester, tied for third on the team in goals (10) and points (26), has been “invaluable” to the Panthers, according to DeBoer.
“We really go as he goes,” DeBoer said of Bouwmeester. “If you look at the trend of our season, our extended winning streaks have coincided when he’s offensively productive. Even when he’s not offensively productive he still gives us a chance to win.”
KING A PANTHER FAN
Don King – Yes, boxing promoter Don ‘Only in America’ King – was at BankAtlantic Center early Tuesday afternoon to announce the ‘St. Valentine’s Day Massacre,’ the first boxing card to ever be held at BankAtlantic Center.
The card, to be held Feb. 14, will be highlighted by the WBO and IBF Lightweight Championship between Nate ‘Galaxxy Warrior’ Campbell and Ali ‘Rush Hour’ Funeka.
King was introduced to Panthers’ Anthony Stewart and Noah Welch and was presented with a Panther jersey by Panthers’ President and COO Michael Yormark and limited partner Jordan Zimmerman, founder and chairman of Zimmerman Advertising.
“I love those Panthers,” said King, who, when placing his Panther jersey on a table, told boxer Angelo Santana, “Guard this with your life.”